Tag: Claude Giroux

Sidney Crosby, Torey Krug

Crosby understands why McDavid decided to fight


The knee-jerk reaction is to say that Connor McDavid was foolish for fighting, especially with the aid of hindsight considering his lengthy injury prognosis. Sidney Crosby agrees that the super-prospect should keep his gloves on more often than not, yet he also told QMI that he understands what it’s like to be a marked man.

“I know that’s not his job, but sometimes — I did not see the play or what happened — I am sure he has a target on his back,” Crosby said on Thursday.

“It’s not easy sometimes.”

Crosby admits that he probably only engaged in “half” of a fight during his dominant QMJHL run, but the 27-year-old’s developed something of an edgy game (five career NHL fighting majors). In fact, a temper emerges that sometimes makes the Pittsburgh Penguins star a bit of a polarizing figure among hardcore hockey fans.

(Not to mention opponents … just ask Claude Giroux.)

As Crosby mentions, it’s not really McDavid’s role to throw the gloves, yet star players sometimes feel the need to assert themselves if they feel like they’re being targeted. There’s also just the sheer emotion and tension that comes from playing a contact sport.

While there’s some risk involved, others beyond Crosby understand why McDavid did what he did, including Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson.

It’s also worth mentioning that the 17-year-old wunderkind’s injury might have had as much to do with bad luck as it did with questionable decision-making, as Darren Dreger pointed out in this video (around the one-minute mark):

Is it the ideal solution? Maybe not, but sometimes even stars need to get their hands dirty (and ideally not broken).

Related: OHL commissioner says they can’t put McDavid in “bubble wrap.”

Five notable names who have yet to score a goal

Matt Moulson, Roberto Luongo

Remember last season when Claude Giroux didn’t score his first goal until his 16th game?

Well, there isn’t a name quite as big as Giroux’s on the still-goalless list in 2014-15, but there are some notable ones nonetheless…

Matt Moulson: no goals in 14 games, with 24 shots.

“It becomes a mental battle,” Moulson said, per the Buffalo News. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t lose a couple of nights sleep over this past little while. You have to keep working. It’s amazing how a goal off your leg or your behind all of a sudden injects confidence into your game.”

At least Moulson’s misery has some company on the struggling Sabres. Teammate Brian Gionta has no goals on 21 shots.

— Ales Hemsky: no goals in 12 games, with 20 shots.

“It’s a new city, new surroundings, new coaches. That takes time,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said recently in Hemsky’s defense. “You go around the league and look at players that have switched teams. I can probably give you three or four right away, and you’ll say, ‘Man, that guy hasn’t scored yet.’ It’s not easy.”

— Alex Semin: no goals in nine games, with 12 shots.

Another unproductive night Tuesday versus Columbus for the man with the $7 million cap hit. He didn’t even register a shot against the Blue Jackets, after sitting three games as a healthy scratch.

— Nick Bjugstad: no goals in 10 games, with 28 shots.

Notable mostly because of all those shots. Among NHL forwards, he’s tied with Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg for the most shots without a goal.

“Nick has been a great player for us. He’s probably hit five or six goalposts, he’s played real well and it’s just some tough luck right now. You go through those things,” coach Gerard Gallant said, per the Sun Sentinel. “The good thing is we’re playing pretty good hockey and we know Nick is going to score, the other guys are going to score goals, it’s just a matter of time.”

— Olli Jokinen: no goals in 12 games, with 21 shots.

But the 35-year-old is clearly doing something right in the eyes of coach Peter Laviolette, given he played a season-high 16:32 Tuesday in Winnipeg.

“Olli Jokinen has been on the power play his whole life and we’ve asked him to come in here and kill penalties and play the wing and help out [center Calle Jarnkrok],” Laviolette said, per the Predators’ website. “That’s all he does every day. When that happens, your team evolves and becomes stronger.”

Honorable mentions: Derek Roy (19 shots), Ryan Strome (23), Darren Helm (18), Mathieu Perreault (22), Dominic Moore (21), Rene Bourque (18), Tomas Jurco (22),  Tomas Fleischmann (17), Jeremy Morin (21).

*Only forwards were considered for the above, but d-men Drew Doughty and Kevin Bieksa each have 31 shots with no goals.

Raffl’s injury puts VandeVelde on Flyers’ top line

Chris VandeVelde

The Philadelphia Flyers have lost their co-goal scoring leader in Michael Raffl for six weeks and have replaced him with a man that’s scored two goals in 54 career games.

Chris VandeVelde, 27, seems like an odd choice to skate alongside Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, but Flyers coach Craig Berube has decided to put him on the top line over some of their bigger offensive weapons like Brayden Schenn. Part of the reason was Berube’s desire to keep Schenn’s line intact, but Berube argued that his decision was about more than just that.

“(VandeVelde)’s a big body who skates well,” Berube told CSN Philly. “We’re looking for a simple player on that line. G and Jake do a lot of the puck work and carrying the puck in the zone. We need a big body to go to the net, get in the corners, be physical, and he skates well.”

The Flyers first line has gotten off to a strong start this season and they need that to continue as Voracek and Giroux are a vital part of the team’s offense. They’ll test out their new unit tomorrow night against the Florida Panthers.

The Flyers ‘have Mason’s back’

Philadelphia Flyers v Chicago Blackhawks

Steve Mason’s numbers aren’t pretty. In five games, the Flyers’ starting netminder is 0-3-1 with an .878 save percentage.

But Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux had only encouraging things to say about his under-siege goalie after last night’s 4-0 loss in Chicago that saw the Blackhawks score three times on 19 shots in the first period.

“We have Mason’s back,” said Giroux, per CSN Philly. “If it weren’t for Mase, I don’t know what the score would have been.

“We have to stick together when it’s tough times. We’ve got to battle through it. We’ve done it before. We’re not going anywhere. We’ve got to stick together.”

Added coach Craig Berube: “[Mason] got bombarded in the first period and held us in there.”

As if it hasn’t been hard enough already, the Flyers (1-3-2) have four more tough tests to finish the month. Tonight they’re in Pittsburgh. After that it’s games against Detroit, Los Angeles, and Tampa Bay.

No word yet if Mason or Ray Emery will get the start tonight against the Penguins (Update: sounds like Emery). But regardless of who gets the assignment, the Flyers will want to stay out of the penalty box, as Pittsburgh enters tonight’s action with eight power-play goals in its first four games.

“Our penalty kill has to be a strong point,” said Mason. “Right now, it’s not.”

The Flyers allowed two power-play goals versus the ‘Hawks and have allowed four in their last two games.

NHL on NBCSN: Hungry Flyers set sights on rival Penguins


NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Philadelphia Flyers at the Consol Energy Center at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

If their 6-5 overtime victory on Saturday gave the Philadelphia Flyers reason to hope, then Chicago’s decisive 4-0 win over them last night was a bucket of cold water. The Flyers’ season is obviously far from over just because they’ve gotten off to a 1-3-2 start, but they have to work hard to right this ship and that task won’t get any easier tonight when they battle their fierce rivals in Pittsburgh.

“We got to stick together when it’s tough time and we just got to battle through it. We’ve done it before,” Claude Giroux said after the game, per the Flyers’ website.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $15,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday’s NHL games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $1,500. Starts Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

He’s right of course. The Flyers began the 2013-14 campaign with a 1-7-0 run and still managed to make the playoffs. However, the reason they slumped out of the gate last season was primarily because they couldn’t seem to click offensively. Although they were shutout last night, the Flyers’ main problem this season has been its defense.

That’s not an area you can afford to be deficient in when you’re playing against Pittsburgh. For years the Penguins have been known as one of the league’s best offensive teams and nothing has changed this season.

Sidney Crosby is playing as good as ever with four goals and nine points in just four games. Evgeni Malkin isn’t far behind with two goals and five assists. Even newcomer Patric Hornqvist, who never recorded more than 53 points in a single season with the Nashville Predators, has stepped up with four goals and eight points.

For any other squad, Pittsburgh would be one of the worst teams to face under these circumstances, but this might actually be just what the doctor ordered for Philadelphia. The Flyers are typically capable of stepping up when facing their Pennsylvania rival. They were 4-1-0 against Pittsburgh last season.

Philadelphia might also finally get defenseman Braydon Coburn after he missed his fifth straight game on Tuesday despite taking part in the pregame warmups. The Flyers could certainly use any help they can get on the blueline.

Regardless of the outcome, this promises to be a fun game. For forward Steve Downie, it’s his first chance to experience the rivalry from Pittsburgh’s perspective after his two stints with Philadelphia and this will also be new Penguins head coach Mike Johnston’s first contest against the Flyers.

““I’m excited,” Johnston told the Penguins’ website. “When you look at an 82-game schedule some games just blend into the other games and some games jump right out at you. Heading into the season and looking at games last year when Philly and Pittsburgh played, the intensity and emotion, both in the building and on the ice, I think it adds to the game.”